29/12/2010 – Wednesday’s Paper Round-Up

29 12 2010
Picture of Gérard Houllier.

Image via Wikipedia

Celtic manager Neil Lennon is eager to bring out-of-favour Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne and midfielder Stephen Ireland to Parkhead on loan.

Sir Alex Ferguson is set to reinforce his Manchester United midfield with a £12m New Year move for Real Madrid’s Lassana Diarra.

United are also preparing a summer move for CSKA Moscow keeper Igor Akinfeev, who Ferguson sees as a long-term replacement for current number one Edwin van der Sar.

Fulham hope to make Chris Samba their first signing of the January transfer window but the Blackburn defender wants assurances over Mark Hughes’s future first.

However, the Cottagers may face competition from Arsenal, who are keen on the £8m-rated centre-back.

The Gunners are also reportedly back in the hunt for Werder Bremen centre-back Per Mertesacker.

Liverpool have rejected a loan offer from Birmingham City for 24-year-old winger Ryan Babel, who has also attracted interest from West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur.

Liverpool’s new Director of Football Strategy Damien Comolli was at Southampton yesterday to run the rule over the Saints’ latest teen sensation Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Juventus are preparing a £27m-offer for Arsenal striker Robin van Persie and the Italian side may also be willing to throw midfielder Felipe Melo into the deal.

Stoke are close to signing on-loan winger Jermaine Pennant, 27, on a permanent contract from Spanish side Real Zaragoza.

German side Werder Bremen are interested in Aston Villa’s 25-year-old defender Curtis Davies, who is currently on loan with Leicester City.

Villa manager Gerard Houllier has handed a trial to Colorado Rapids’ Jamaican striker Omar Cummings.

Villa are also keen to sign striker Nicklas Bendtner from Arsenal, who may also be joined out of the Emirates exit by fellow striker Carlos Vela, midfielder Denilson and goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

Real Madrid centre-back Pepe has received a lucrative offer from Manchester City, according to Spanish newspaper AS.

Mick McCarthy wants to bring Tottenham Hotspur striker Robbie Keane back to Wolves, the club the Republic of Ireland forward first joined in 1997.

West Ham look set to sign Dieumerci Mbokani on loan from Monaco if they can get a work visa for the Congolese striker.

The Hammers may also look to sign Manchester United’s Michael Owen on loan after the striker admitted he may have to leave Old Trafford to reignite his career.

Valon Behrami has given Roma until 10 January to reach a deal over his transfer from West Ham. The Swiss midfielder is desperate to return to Italian football after an injury-hit spell in the Premier League.

Everton, Newcastle and Blackburn are chasing Barcelona’s teenage midfielder Oriol Romeu.

Hull have been put off a bid for James Vaughan after his club Everton put a £2m price-tag on the striker.

However, the Tigers are close to sealing a £1.5m-deal for Leicester striker Matty Fryatt after Foxes boss Sven Goran Eriksson admitted the player is almost certain to leave in January.

England boss Fabio Capello has risked angering Europe’s top clubs by backing calls for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be held during the winter. Capello, who is due to leave his role with England in 2012, believes it would be too hot to play in Qatar during June and July.

Blackburn caretaker boss Steve Kean has refuted accusations that there were underhand tactics at play when he was asked to take over from Sam Allardyce. “It was an absolute shock when I received the phone call from the chairman which was half an hour before it hit the press that Sam was going to leave,” said Kean.

Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech believes the side are struggling to find “the right chemistry” this season. The Blues are on their worst run in 11 years after a 3-1 loss at Arsenal left them six league games without a win.

Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour believes that champions Chelsea are now out of the title race after the 3-1 defeat at the Emirates.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez believes that the attacking, passing football played by sides like his own and Arsenal will benefit the next generation of English footballers. “When you play in that sort of style players are forced to make decisions and think on the pitch,” said Martinez.

Former Portsmouth manager Paul Hart is poised to become the new manager of Sheffield United.

Liverpool are to reward striker David Ngog with a new long-term contract. The 21-year-old has 18 months remaining on his current deal.

Birmingham City have upped their contract offer to winger Sebastian Larsson. The Swede, 25, who cost £1m from Arsenal, can leave at the end of the season.

Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier (pictured) has revealed why John Carew was late to report for his club’s Christmas programme – the striker was stuck in snow in his native Norway.

For full stories, head over to the BBC website.

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